Intro and design
BenQ is looking to add its Midas touch to the EW2440 ($220, £140, AU$285) with a golden edition. Fortunately, the tone is more subdued than gaudy, and the result is a monitor that still maintains professional and understated aesthetics, but with an added splash of color.
With a 1080p full HD panel, the EW2440 doesn’t come with frills, such as 3D display, built in color calibration or touch support. The EW2440 competes against monitors with screen sizes ranging between 21 and 27 inches. Notable competitors include the 27-inch Philips Brilliance 272P ($462, £295, AU$600) with QHD resolution, 23-inch Viewsonic VX2363S ($169, £108, AU$218) with 1080p display and touch-enabled 1080p 21.5-inch Acer UT220HQL (150, £96, AU$195).
You’re paying a premium for the EW2440’s more accurate rendering of colors. The price of the EW2440 is just $80 (£51, AU$103) shy of the higher resolution 28-inch Dell P2815Q ($299, £191, AU$385) with a 4K UHD panel. Dell’s smaller 24-inch 4K P2415Q costs over twice as much as the EW2440 at $499 (£320, AU$645).
Slim bezels and a small strip of faux gold trim bring a little bit of needed desk appeal to the otherwise unassuming 24-inch BenQ EW2440. Even though my review unit came with a gold accent, you can also opt to have a more stealthy all-black option.
Out of the box, the EW2440 arrives in three separate pieces – base, stand and display – all manufactured from plastic. The choice of material doesn’t inspire the same level of confidence that a heavier aluminum base inspires, like on the Acer S277HK or Apple’s Cinema Display and all-in-one iMac. However, once assembled, the EW2440 feels solid, while lacking the heft of some of its metal rivals.
Assembling the monitor required less than five minutes. The base attached to the stand with two thumb screws, and a screwdriver was needed to attach the stand to the monitor. The screw was already affixed to the monitor via a spring-loaded mechanism, so all I needed to do was slide the base into a groove on the rear side of the monitor, tighten the screw and attach the power cord.
Once assembled, the EW 2440 measures 21.5 x 7.5 x 16.6 inches (54.61 x 19.05 x 42.16cm) and weighs 8.25 pounds (3.74kg). Although the design is modern and relatively minimalist with a T-shaped base, it’s a bit bland. BenQ could have added more gold accents – perhaps in the design of the base and the stand – to the overall design.
When powered off, the screen, which dominates the majority of the front display, looks more matte than glossy, which should help reduce reflection and glare. Just below the screen is a 1.5-inch strip of matte champagne gold plastic.
Rather than affix removable stickers highlighting the various technologies supported by this display, BenQ screen-printed logos for MHL, Senseye 3 and LED, marring the design of the champagne gold strip. To the right of the strip are six dimpled dots, which are activated by touch to control power, volume, display input selection and menu. The dimples are nice because they give you an instant visual to know where to touch, but you’ll still have to touch a few buttons first before you arrive at the correct one as they’re not labeled (only the power button is labeled).
Although the front – including the base of the display – is coated in a matte finish, BenQ opted to go with glossy plastic for the rear. This is a rather unfortunate choice, as the glossy black attracted dust and fingerprints during the two weeks I used the monitor.
Even though there isn’t a neat cable management system on the EW2440, a vertical strip in the center rear accommodates various input ports. You will get two HDMI ports, with one of those supporting MHL for connecting a compatible smartphone, a D-Sub port, and lines in and out for audio. There are stereo speakers located on the left and right sides of the ports.
Specifications and Performance
- Display type: VA LED-backlit LCD
- Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 full HD, 16:9 aspect ratio
- Size: 24-inch diagonal
- Brightness: 250 cd/m2
- Contrast ratio: 3000:1
- Response time: 4ms
- Tilt: -5 to 20 degrees
- Features: Smart Focus, Advanced Motion Accelerator (AMA) technology, EyeCare Utility, Flicker Free technology, HDCP, Low Blue Light Mode, Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), SUPER Resolution, Senseye 3 Technology
According to results taken with Datacolor’s Spyder5 Elite colorimeter, the EW2440 is capable of displaying 95% of the sRGB color space, 70% of the NTSC color space and 74% of the Adobe RGB, which is excellent. Most good modern displays usually fall within the 85% to 100% range of sRGB.
The Datacolor test revealed that the display has excellent color uniformity, contrast and color accuracy. The unit displayed dark blacks and high contrast, rich and vibrant colors without being over-saturated, and provided wide viewing angles and fast refresh rates for watching movies.
The display’s brightness uniformity is only average, with the panel exhibiting a small amount of light leakage along the edges. This isn’t a problem when viewing images with brighter backgrounds, but it becomes obvious with movies set against a dark backdrop.
The 60Hz refresh rate on the 1080p panel is more than adequate for movies, YouTube videos, and most casual games. The VA LED panel is a bit slower than TN, or twisted nematic, panels, so there is a bit of ghosting when playing games with faster frame rates.
With dual-HDMI inputs, one of which supports MHL connections, the benefit of the EW2440 is that you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the display. BenQ bundles an MHL to HDMI cable, which has what looks like a micro USB tip on one end and an HDMI plug on the other end, to get you started, but noticeably missing from the packaging is a standard HDMI cable or audio cable.
On the front base of the EW2440 is a small piece of glossy black plastic. Once that plastic is lifted, it creates a smartphone stand that enables you to stand your phone on the dock and connect the MHL HDMI cable to project the content from your device to the larger monitor.
The obvious use for MHL output – which is supported on modern flagships like the HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Sony Xperia Z3 – is to enjoy videos and games. Given that the EW2440 also comes with built-in speakers, users should be able to enjoy multimedia by connecting the MHL cable. In my use, however, I was not able to pipe audio from my smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop on to the speakers of the display. I’ve reached out to BenQ with this issue, and the company is researching the problem.
Enterprise users can also add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to the mix to transform their smartphone into the ultimate mobile workstation.
Because the EW2440 doesn’t support VESA mounting nor does the monitor support vertical or horizontal adjustments, the display is geared more toward home users than enterprises. Even though users can tilt the angle of the display, the stand doesn’t allow the monitor to lift or lower, or to swivel from left to right, for more comfortable ergonomics.
That said, with a flicker-free technology (BenQ markets this as ZeroFlicker) and various preset display modes that help to reduce eye fatigue by removing blue light, the EW2440 does a commendable job keeping users comfortable while looking at the display for extended periods of time.
As someone who suffers from frequent migraines, I noticed that my headaches were significantly reduced in the two weeks that I tested the EW2440. In my uncontrolled environment, it’s impossible to isolate if the reduction in headaches are caused by, or correlated with, the use of the monitor. However, after ten hours of daily use, I can say I’ve noticed less eye strain, especially at lower brightness levels.
When you lower the brightness on some IPS LED panels, the refresh rate also slows, resulting in the screen flickering, which can lead to headaches, eye strain and fatigue over long durations. BenQ’s VA LED panel allows the screen to be flicker-free, even on low brightness settings, and comes with the same, wide 178-degree viewing angles as IPS displays.
Preset display modes
The EW2440 offers several preset display modes to make it more comfortable to read web pages, view documents, watch multimedia content and work under office lights. These modes are found in BenQ’s Low Blue Light menu.
The settings change the amount of blue light on the display. Even though there is conflicting scientific opinion on the causal relationship of blue light and eye fatigue, I noticed that with the web or reading modes enabled, the whites on the screen warmed up. Rather than a cold, blue white, white backgrounds appeared more yellow, taking on a similar hue as parchment paper.
This in effect serves to reduce the screen contrast, making for a more comfortable reading experience over longer durations. It felt more like reading printed text on paper.
The BenQ EW2440 is an affordable 1080p display providing eye comfort for those who spend most of their time staring at digital windows. In addition to the all-around solid performance, the best aspects of the EW2440 include the ZeroFlicker screen and Low Blue Light modes that make it more comfortable to view different types of content.
What we like
Great color accuracy and rich, deep blacks keep you focused on your content. This near bezel-less display delivers excellent color accuracy and uniformity, contrast, and a wide range of colors. The flicker-free technology and low blue light screen modes help reduce eye fatigue.
What we disliked
Given its affordable price, you can’t fault the EW2440 for its plastic construction or uninspiring design. The biggest gripe with this display is that we couldn’t get audio out from our devices to the display’s built-in speakers over HDMI, MHL or a 3.5mm audio cable. It’s unclear at this time what the problem was, and BenQ is researching the issue. For gamers, slower refresh rates will result in ghosting when playing games with high frame rates.
The EW2440 joins a crowded space of 24-inch full HD monitors. At $220, the EW2440 won’t be the cheapest 24-inch screen on the market, but if you’re willing to pay a little more, you’ll be rewarded with a great display with rich colors, high contrast and a flicker-free screen panel.